Hina Fathima

Women in Urdu Literature

February 1, 2015

All of the stories that exist, in our knowledge, were written after the fall of the matriarchy. This is why tales found in the Epic of Gilgamesh—or on scrolls of papyrus excavated in Egypt—are about men’s power, their sovereignty and the accomplishments of great princes. Meanwhile, women appear weak and submissive, unable to make ۔۔۔

Humour in Urdu Travelogues

October 27, 2014

Rauf Parekh — Ibn-e-Insha (1927-1978) is credited, and rightly so, for having introduced humour to Urdu travelogues. Before him, Urdu travel accounts were serious, in some cases even melancholy, pieces of writing that could hardly proffer anything in a lighter vein as the writers were more concerned about depicting the historical facts and “moral ills” of the nations they visited than enjoying their ۔۔۔

Much-needed Research on Saraiki and Wakhi Languages Published

October 20, 2014

Rauf Parekh — Just like human beings, societies, too, have distinctive traits. Ours is a society that is peculiar in many ways, but one characteristic is very prominent: we have a poetic, romantic and emotional disposition. We love to live in the past, which was, so we believe, great in every way. We are influenced by rhetoric and we fall for tall claims—oblivious to logic and practicality of ideas—especially if rhetoric is blared out at a public ۔۔۔

Philosophical Writings in Urdu and Qazi Qaiser-ul-Islam

October 13, 2014

Rauf Parekh — Philosophy and philosophers have usually been target of jokes. The disrespect for philosophy is not uncommon in our society alone, but the westerners also do not hesitate to poke fun at philosophers. For example, showbiz personality Woody Allen once said: “What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid on my ۔۔۔

The Contemporary Urdu Short Story

October 6, 2014

Rauf Parekh — “An oft-repeated lament is that in Urdu, short story is not being written anymore,” said Muhammad Hameed Shahid, a well-known critic and writer of modern Urdu fiction, during a session at last year’s Islamabad Literature Festival. He said that the impression was false and informed the audience that over 100 short story writers were penning Urdu short stories. The problem, as Mr Shahid put it, was that no one was critically evaluating the Urdu short ۔۔۔

Benjamin Schulze, Mohiuddin Qadri Zor, and Urdu’s Origin

September 29, 2014

Rauf Parekh — Benjamin Schulze (1689-1760), an orientalist and Lutheran missionary who lived in India between 1726 and 1743 and established the first Christian mission in Madras, wrote in his ‘A Grammar of Hindoostani language’ (1745) that Hindustani, or Urdu, was “a provincial dialect of Persian”. It was, perhaps, the beginning of weaving the speculative theories around the issue of Urdu’s origin, which was to go on for a couple of ۔۔۔

The Battle of Books: Bagh-o-Bahar and Fasana-i-Ajaib

September 8, 2014

Rauf Parekh — The Battle of Books, Jonathan Swift’s famous satirical work, narrates the story of a battle fought by books in a library. The books become alive and fight for superiority. Since the fight was an embodiment of the battle of ideas, the phrase ‘the battle of books’ came, with the passage of time, to symbolise the battle between the old and the ۔۔۔

Common Misconceptions about Urdu

August 25, 2014

Rauf Parekh — Myths, or widely held misconceptions, are sometimes so deep-rooted that no matter how hard you try to dispel them by proving them wrong, they refuse to go away. And, it is not limited to our society. Many incorrect notions had lovingly been held in the west for centuries. The wrong attribution of the remark ‘let them eat cake’ to Queen Mary Antoinette (1755-1793), for example, or the misconception that the famous Ancient Library of Alexandria was destroyed by Muslims, did not originate in the ۔۔۔